Jul 29, 2014
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Letter: 'Ban These Assault Weapons Once and For All'

Fairfield resident Heather Dean says United States can follow Australia's lead.

Letter: 'Ban These Assault Weapons Once and For All'

Last week I attended the hearing on Gun Violence in Newtown. I didn’t go as an elected official, but as a mother and a teacher. I was compelled to attend because that same week there was a lockdown practice at my daughter's middle school. As recommended by the staff, I let her know so she could be prepared. We talked about it and both agreed that in some cases, like areas prone to natural disasters, where there is often little to no warning, you need to practice “Duck, Cover and Hold On”. Such preparation can save lives from the ravages of Mother Nature. However, no one should have to hold lockdown drills because of a gunman.

One speaker shared statistics showing that since Australia banned assault weapons in 1996, there had not been one mass shooting. Imagine if we could give that same report here in the United States in a few years? Is a revival of talks to ban weapons in Connecticut and America so scary? The way I see it, the Australian government took action without taking away anyone’s right to own firearms; they simply prevented the general public from owning assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

After five hours of testimony, you would think everything that could possibly be said has been, but maybe not. There was one speaker who reminded me again, that we all have a responsibility to take action, to use our words to help stop the violence. Time ran out that evening, leaving many without that chance.

This brings me to my point.

I’m using my words here to endorse the proposals banning assault weapons and the accompanying high capacity magazines. I realize that this is a complex issue with many layers, but we must start somewhere to stop the rising tide of random violence. Not one speaker against assault weapons demanded repealing our second amendment; instead they asked our elected officials to work together and not be influenced by gun lobbies or partisan politics. Ban these assault weapons once and for all. I’m asking that too. Please help make these lockdown practices a thing of the past.

Heather Dean

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